Why is someone yelling ‘HAWK HAWK HAWK’ during this Wizards-Nuggets play?
It’s actually for a more mundane reason than you think.
If you watched Wizards-Nuggets on the Washington broadcast, you probably heard someone shouting the word “HAWK” loudly and repeatedly before the play started. But it’s not because they saw a bird flying around — though that might be relevant in Atlanta. It actually refers to the play the Wizards were running.
“Hawk” is a very common NBA offense popularized by folks like Hubie Brown and Flip Saunders. Many teams use this kind of offense, but the Wizards, thanks to Saunders’ tenure there and the presence of former lead assistant Randy Wittman as the head man, do so more than most.
How does it work? With the point guard on one wing, a wing player loops off a big man’s screen up top, cutting to the corner the same side, then quickly darting around off a double screen to curl to the opposite wing or corner. As this is happening, the initial screener comes to set a pick and roll with the point guard. You can run through myriad options from there — Bullets Forever had a great breakdown of some of them back in 2009 and I put together a video of some pick and roll examples last April.
So really, whoever was yelling “HAWK HAWK HAWK” was likely a Nuggets player or coach trying to convey the play to their team.
Alas, it didn’t work, because John Wall took advantage of Arron Afflalo’s roaming to sling a crosscourt pass to a wide-open Bradley Beal for three. Maybe it’s best to keep these thoughts to yourself.